My Life

Sunday in the Park with Brian: Therapy Session #35 (The “Random Thoughts Whilst I Avoid Packing for Spain” Version)

I really meant to be fully (or at least mostly) packed by this evening. We don’t actually get on a plane for another four days but, if you haven’t noticed by now, I can get a little anxious about certain things, and one of those triggers is being in a foreign country and not having the exact thing that I need at the very moment that I need it. It makes me itchy.

Another trigger is suddenly realizing, two hours before we’re supposed to be at the airport, that I have completely forgotten about something ultra-important that should be tucked in my luggage but it has completely slipped my mind. (Underwear, for instance. Most sane people would have tended to this task during the most preliminary phases of packing. Then again, I have a history of not following proper protocol when it comes to underwear. But we’ll chat about that some other time. Maybe.)

End result, I did a trial run a few hours ago, and I learned a few things. One is that I need to hit a few stores in the next few days, as the domestic inventory has proven lacking in critical areas, which means I have to deal with people I don’t want to deal with and will probably write dark poetry afterwards. Two, and more importantly, packing when one doesn’t really have to pack yet lacks a certain degree of necessary investment.

I quickly lost interest, and now the guest bed is littered with 700 optional items which need to be whittled down to 50 or so. (The modest suitcase I am taking has two items placed lovingly inside, a voltage adapter so I don’t electrocute myself when I plug in my Kindle and a cache of Gas-X caplets. Apparently, I plan to read a lot of books and eat a lot of fried foods, apparently whilst completely naked. Then again, I have a history of…) The carry-on is completely empty. Maybe I’ll leave it that way, just to confuse the Security people when they scan my bags. (“Earline, come look at this. You think we need to call maintenance?”)

Speaking of Gas-X, I’m in the midst of Medication Flux. Although I joke quite often about my anxiety, I really do have issues. (Official Diagnosis: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which is a rather drab and non-flashy bit of terminology, but it’s the real deal. There are many causal factors that can lead one to such a condition, but basically my mind and body have dealt with severe stress for so long that I no longer process input in a “normal” (if there is such a thing anymore) way. Without medication, the stress builds until it presents physically and I can end up in an Emergency Room. It’s not pretty, and, as my doctors keep warning me during those periods when I think I can go without the pills and I stupidly don’t take them (because they can make me foggy and I don’t care for that), I will be on medication for the rest of my life.

That turned out to be a rather serious paragraph. I didn’t really mean to go that far but, at the same time, none of us should be ashamed about discussing what we are and how we’re made. Ignoring reality and pretending that everything is just fine because we are afraid of “social stigma” leads to even more complications. The more we talk, the more we share, the more we embrace all the myriad, splintered, kaleidoscopic, divergent pathways of our lives, the closer we get to the Inclusive Society that we all deserve and away from the bitter, vindictive disregard that some wretched fools still have for anything that they don’t see in their own mirror.

Well, then. I had intended to throw out a few more amusing anecdotes in this session, but it no longer seems appropriate. (Those of you craving more details about the Medication Flux that I hinted at will have to wait a bit. Trust that it involved an experimental adjustment to my anxiety meds following a cancer scare that eventually proved benign, wherein I got a bit loopy and I may or may not have worn underwear when I did a few things that were not fully vetted before I did them.)

I’d rather end with this: Here at Bonnywood Manor, we welcome everyone who sees more than just themselves in the mirror, who appreciates all the colors and all the journeys, who realizes that the best way to rise above is to bring everyone with you, hands joined. Sure, we may have some disagreements, but as long as those disagreements lead to dialogue and honest resolution, well, we’ll eventually get that suitcase packed for our next adventure…



30 replies »

  1. Hi Brian, imho, having to take medication is about the same as having to wear glasses or use a case. It’s assistive, and we all need that. And a world that is more accepting of the wonderful differences of us.

    May you have a fabulous trip with little to no lower back pain and few packing errors. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Emotional baggage can be a lot heavier than the real thing, but at least you don’t have to pack underwear it.

    People are amazed when I arrive at my international destination with luggage consisting of my trusty backpack and a little fold-up wheelie bag that can be expanded to hold purchases and souvenirs. But after travelling for years with four kids who required every one of their toys, books, electronica—and everything else that had ever been in their possession —I’ve gotten used to having my own packing consist of my laptop, various chargers and adaptors, and a spare pair of knickers, preferably something of the unisex variety in case the Hub is accompanying me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I will say that I have made great progress over the years to lightening the packing load, at least physically if not emotionally. But I still have my little tremors of “but what if I need THIS on the trip?” But really, as long as I have a credit card that somebody in the village will accept, it’s all good. Unless I need a good post for the blog, in which case I just have to suffer the slings and arrows…. 😉


  3. Oh I feel for you and your anxiety, I really do. Do what you have to do!

    (I love to travel but over the last decade I developed a terrible fear of flying…which is really hard as my husband is American and we often go between countries (I’m an Aussie and we are currently in Australia). I started seeing a new doctor at an integrative health clinic (best decision I have made in ages) and it turns out that when your zinc and copper levels are out of balance, it can actually cause a plethora of different anxiety issues, including a fear of flying! Who knew?? Fascinating stuff.)


    • It’s odd, this fear of flying thing. It never used to bother me; I’d happily hop on a plane, come what may. But over the years I’ve developed these triggers that were meaningless before. I suppose it’s a side effect of my overall, increasing anxiety issues. And it’s very interesting that you bring up zinc levels. Way back in the day, in my Twenties, doctors discovered that my body “hordes” zinc, to almost a toxic level. (I can’t take most multi-vitamins because of it.) Now you have me wondering if I need to revisit that issue…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow Brian, that is really interesting. I was like that too, flying didn’t bother me one bit. The zinc level thing, I have never heard that before, of anyone having too high a level. The doctor told me that our zinc levels are meant to be higher than our copper, but mine were reversed. Hmmm maybe it is worth having that checked now?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, I’ve been there with underwear. But, at least worst case take it from me…you can wash them out in a sink in your hotel and dry them overnight + with a hairdryer to finish each morning. It’s not ideal…but I’ve done it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m very slowly learning to pack lighter when I go somewhere – mostly in the outer wear category. I need the security of lots of underwear. Because anxiety (which is a given here) causes my system to mess with me.
    “Everyone who sees more than just themselves in the mirrors” – love that phrase.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Damn you Mr Lageose! That last paragraph; ALL THE FEELS. We have a camping checklist, it includes EVERYTHING we could possibly want to take, it even has the tent on it cos it’s a pretty shit camping trip if you forget that. It’s the only way I’ve found to take the stress out of packing. It gets printed early with random additions written on as we think of them (cos maybe we bought some posh chocolates just for holiday). The list goes with us in case we think of or buy something we would like to take on our next trip. I hope you get your underwear sorted. I hope you pack with a smile on your face. I hope you have the most amazing time. I hope that some of it goes a little sideways so we can get some giggles out of it. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • It makes me very happy that you got the Feels from that past paragraph, as that was the real point of the whole post, although I didn’t know I was going there until it developed as I was writing.

      I always try to do checklists as well, but they usually end up in flux, with multiple versions being issued before we get to the final day. (I feel compelled to point out that a “tent” has never been on the list. Perhaps I’m doing something wrong, which shouldn’t surprise anyone.)

      And yes, things will go sideways in Spain. And I embrace those diversions whole-heartedly, because that’s where most of the fun happens. Unless the police get involved….

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Stress does horrible things to a person, and prolonged stress is downright nasty. I’m sad to hear you’ve had to live with so much of it in your life. I hope this trip will be as stress-free as possible, and I hope you have the time of your life while you’re away.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh Brian, my buddy, this was a beaut. No lie. Loved every single word. I’m in total agreement that we should be honest with who we are, blemishes and all. I greatly appreciate your story. One day I might be brave enough to tackle my own (involves depression which I have no problem discussing, it’s more the events surrounding it, if you get my meaning.)
    Anyhoo, I’m a bit anal with my packing and usually start a couple weeks ahead. Outfits are labeled and listed in a small notebook, accessories are bagged and attached to each outfit with a safety pin. And YET, despite all my planning, I still managed to completely forget underwear for a week-long trip to the mountains, no where near a store.
    Ah well. The mountain air felt good. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Christi. I fully know what you mean by “events surrounding” as, despite the fact that I babble quite profusely, there are many things which I have yet to share. But one thing I’m learning as I get older is how easy some inhibitions fall away, so those hidden stories may still be revealed…

      As for the packing, in the end I overdid it, despite the fact that I only took one medium-sized carry-on that went in the overhead bins and a smallish kit that slid under the seat in front of me. (We did’t check any of our luggage.) I ended up not even needing several bits of couture, as there is a washing machine at the villa and it was basically running every day with all of us there. Next year, I’m taking even less, swear.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I had tucked this away for future perusal and only just found it again. Just when I think I ‘know’ you, you surprise me. This honest and forthright post is beautiful and I hope to see more of the same now and then. I just love you for your courage among the many other things.

    On a side note: I wonder if or when ‘they’ll’ recognize anxiety as the real illness it is. It’s high on the list of my disabilities, but ‘they’ didn’t consider it a factor. Most of the folks I know don’t ‘get’ why anxiety is so debilitating and I’ve mostly stopped talking about it, unless someone asks me directly why I don’t do more social things that involve hoards of the great unwashed whom I don’t know (and don’t wanna). Xanax has proven to be the best ‘cure’ for my particular flavor of anxiety, but again ‘they’ don’t like to prescribe it and one has to fight a lot of battles to obtain it. Another reason I loathe drug addicts…they screw the pooch for those who might actually take the medication as prescribed and don’t go about trying to get stoned off something that is supposed to calm people down.

    I’m glad you got to Spain and that, despite the presence of militant ducks, you’re having a presumed great time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Melanie. I’ve finally gotten to the point where I tell anyone about my anxiety that will listen because, as you well know, many people don’t get it. And I’m just done with the nonchalance and ignorance. Luckily, I have a doctor who fully understands, and we have long discussions on what works best for me. Because my anxiety peaked so severely during the colonoscopy/cancer scare situation, we’re experimenting with a new regimen to see how it works out, a combination of my regular Buspirone along with splashes of Duloxetine and Clonazepam. (We dropped the Lorazepam as my “rescue drug” because it no longer seemed to pull me back from the intense episodes.)

      Spain was terrific, as I’m sure you’ve seen from subsequent posts, but I’ve still got a few more adventures to share…


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